RISE29 promotes Daughtry to program manager

East Carolina University’s premier student entrepreneurship program, RISE29, has promoted Greenville native Tristyn Daughtry to its program manager position.

RISE29 program manager Tristyn Daughtry


Daughtry is a two-time ECU graduate, earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in management before completing her Master of Business Administration and Certificate in Development and Environmental Planning with the College of Business.  

Daughtry has been part of the RISE29 team since December 2019. She has mentored student interns through consulting projects, designed and implemented ECU’s co-curricular student engagement program, E-Passport, and assisted in running the inaugural semester of ECU’s RISEUp Academy. 

Daughtry’s experience with RISE29 allowed her to build connections with both students and clients.

“As an ECU graduate and small business operator, I’ve faced the same challenges our students have when it comes to moving an idea into a functional small business,” Daughtry said. “RISE29 is already showing early signs of success. I hope to continue that success and solidify ECU as an economic driver for our students and clients across the state. 

I’m incredibly humbled by the opportunity to step into this role,” she said. “I look forward to the great things that we’ll accomplish toward supporting the university’s mission of regional transformation.” 

In her role as program manager, Daughtry will work closely with program clients, including small businesses and nonprofits, and government leaders in the RISE29 project area. 

Her experience proved valuable, said Sharon Paynter, assistant vice chancellor for economic and community engagement. 

“Tristyn has built a strong relationship with community leaders and stakeholders in our RISE29 counties,” Paynter said. “During her time with the program, she’s shown a passion for eastern North Carolina and student success – both born of her roots in the region and commitment to personal and professional development. We’re ready to see RISE29 reach even greater heights under her leadership.” 

Led by the university’s Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement and the Miller School of Entrepreneurship, RISE29 connects small business ideas with regional community needs. By using a mix of student teams, regional businesses and community leaders, the program launches new enterprises, strengthens existing companies with long-term continuity plans, and commercializes novel technology. 

RISE29 is funded through a $1 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. It currently operates in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin and Pitt counties. 

The program was presented the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) Excellence in Co-Curricular Innovation Award in 2020.